What Michael Bloomberg Bought With Pocket Change

Mark Johnson (R-NC) is the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of North Carolina. When he beat incumbent June Atkinson in 2016, he became the first Republican elected to that position in over 100 years. In his role as Superintendent of Public Instruction, he has control over the public schools in the state including their policies and their curriculum.

Despite being a Republican, Johnson has always been somewhat suspect in my estimation. When the Republican receives a donation from Michael Bloomberg, I am suspicious. I wrote in 2016 about how this made me feel wary of him. I found it interesting that Bloomberg contributed $5,100 to him and nothing to Democrat June Atkinson who was a strong supporter of Common Core. Bloomberg’s daughter Emma also contributed another $100 to Johnson. I noted that contributions like this come with implicit strings attached.

Johnson started to show his true colors back in 2018 when he opposed allowing teachers with the requisite training from being armed. Johnson said at the time, he wanted firearms on campus restricted to “these trained, uniformed law-enforcement professionals who courageously choose a career protecting citizens from violent threats.”

As bad as that was, it wasn’t too far out of the mainstream even for a Republican. His latest move, on the other hand, involves partnering with anti-gun group Sandy Hook Promise to set up an anonymous reporting system. The system will involve a mobile app with the tips monitored by volunteers with Sandy Hook Promise.

NC State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced today that the state education agency has contracted with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) to provide a statewide Say Something Anonymous Reporting System in the 2019-20 school year. The Say Something program, including an anonymous mobile tip app, is a school safety program designed to change and save lives by teaching students, educators, and administrators how to recognize the signs and signals of those who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others and to anonymously report this information through the mobile tip app, the website or the telephone crisis hotline.

“Students play a critical role in helping to keep schools safe,” Johnson said. “They may see and hear concerns that adults need to know about but may be reluctant to report it. With the Say Something program, middle and high school students will better understand what warning signs to look for and when and how to report important tips through an app. Making this app available will be an important part of our efforts to make schools safer.” “We are proud and eager to work with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to train students across the state to ‘know the signs’ of potential violence and report them to a trusted adult via the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “With these comprehensive violence prevention systems in place, North Carolina schools will be safer, protecting millions of lives and empowering youth to be upstanders in their communities.”

Through the Say Something program, students, parents, educators and others can download the app and share school safety concerns with school administrators and school resource officers at schools, who will respond appropriately. More than 5,100 schools nationwide are currently using Sandy Hook Promise’s anonymous reporting system. North Carolina will be the second statewide partnership for Sandy Hook Promise, with implementation of an anonymous reporting system that will encourage student participation in protecting themselves and their peers.

 According to the Raleigh News and Observer, the 2018 state budget allocated $5 million to fund the project. It is estimated that it will cost about $650,000 per year to run it. While the release from Johnson and Sandy Hook Promise wasn’t explicit about this, the N&O reports that the “command center” will be staffed by Sandy Hook Promise and not local NC law enforcement.

An anonymous reporting system with no connection to local law enforcement is an invitation for abuse. I see a lot of kids getting back at other teens for imagined slights, I see “swatting“, and I see innocent people getting killed. This is “pre-crime” brought to the schools of North Carolina and civil liberties be damned. That is what Michael Bloomberg bought with his pocket change.

Searching WikiLeaks

I spent some time this afternoon searching The Podesta Files at WikiLeaks. John Podesta is the chairman of the Hillary Clinton campaign, a former counselor to Barack Obama, Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, and former head of the Center for American Progress. The Podesta Files are the product of a hack of Podesta’s various email accounts.

The Podesta Files are an inside look into the Clinton political machine and make for interesting reading. For example, the search term “gun control” shows 236 emails that discussed it. Other variants of that search term such as “gun violence” and “gun safety resulted in 344 and 120 emails respectively. Even Ladd Everitt, formerly of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic), is mentioned in one of the emails.

One exchange that really caught my eye – and I haven’t done extensive searching yet – was between Podesta and a Robert Wolf of 32Advisors. Mr. Wolf’s firm is a strategic intelligence and advisory firm. Mr. Wolf was named one of the 100 Most Important People in Finance for 2013 by Worth Magazine. He is the former Chairman and CEO of  the Wall Street firm UBS Americas. He also served on a number of advisory boards and councils in the Obama Administration. To put it bluntly, Mr. Wolf is a mover and shaker, a high flyer and rainbow rider, and the consummate insider.

From an email dated October 7, 2015 in which Podesta and Wolf are arranging a meeting:

To: rwolf@32advisors.com
Date: 2015-10-07 19:40

Supposed to do a presentation in 5 minutes. Free after 8:30 but on a train.
Probably could do a few minutes at 6:30. Either work for you?
On Oct 7, 2015 5:34 PM, “Robert Wolf” wrote:

> How you looking now or tonight
> On Oct 7, 2015, at 12:16 PM, John Podesta wrote:
> Call me at 2:00 if it still works. 202-999-0738.
> On Oct 6, 2015 6:40 PM, “Robert Wolf” wrote:
>> John-
>> Appreciate you coming back to me as I know how jammed you are. Great day
>> for the Secretary yesterday –especially gun control & Benghazi response. As
>> an fyi- my wife Carol works at Sandy Hook Promise with the woman Nicole who
>> the Secretary introduced.

>> Best times for me tomorrow are 930am, 2pm or 5pm. May be best for me to
>> call you.
>> Agenda:
>> 1. Meeting w the Secretary & best way to interact directly with
>> her (seldom of course).
>> 2. Best way forward to integrate & interact with the team
>> (economics, business, surrogate, debate…).
>> 3. VP Biden update.
>> Speak soon,
>> RW

The Nicole mentioned is Nicole Hockley who is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise. Mr. Wolf’s wife Carol is the Senior Development Manager. I presume that means her job is to secure funding for this gun prohibitionist organization.

What intrigues me about this email stream is the linkage between gun prohibitionists, their organizations, and those in (or formerly in) high finance. We all know about Michael Bloomberg but this email string shows it goes deeper than just him.

As a totally irrelevant aside, I found my first cousin Joe Paduda mentioned in a couple of Podesta’s emails from 2008. Joe runs a health care consultancy in New York and runs in the Democratic health care circles. Every family has to have a black sheep, I guess.

Journalism Ethics? Yeah, Right

In a column posted earlier this month, Rob Cox, global editor of Reuters Breakingviews, says it would be good business for Starbucks to ban guns in their stores.

Still, the economic downside for Starbucks may be much greater than the company has let on. The current furor could explode into a nationwide call for a boycott – something that many gun control organizations are now publicly embracing, particularly following an insensitive, though legal, call by one gun rights group for its members to parade their weapons at the Starbucks in Newtown, Connecticut – where 20 children and six educators were massacred in an elementary school last December by a gunman wielding an assault weapon with high-capacity magazines.

The truth is, Starbucks and its shareholders may have more to lose than gain by resisting the adoption of a policy like the one it has for its own corporate headquarters that asks gun owners to check them at the door.

This column predated the call by Moms Demand Action to boycott Starbucks today by a few weeks. However, I think it highly likely that Mr. Cox was well aware of the impending boycott today.


Because Mr. Cox, in addition to his work for Reuters, is a founder of the gun control group Sandy Hook Promise and is their Development Director. He discloses his role as a founder of Sandy Hook Promise at the bottom of his column.

I don’t know whether Mr. Cox is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. If he is a member, shame on him for ignoring the Society’s Code of Ethics. It states that journalists should “Act Independently”.

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

Journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.

  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

If Mr. Cox and the rest of the mainstream media ever wonders why gun owners (and conservatives and libertarians) have such a distrust of the media, he need only look to this column and his role as a founder of Sandy Hook Promise. Knowing of his role in a gun control organization, who would ever believe anything that he wrote or edited for Reuters that concerned firearms? The answer is no reasonable person because it would be it be slanted against guns whether consciously or unconsciously.